Fans of Josh Heinrichs’ earlier work with reggae band Jah Roots will not be disappointed with his recently released collaboration album – Josh Heinrichs & Friends. The twelve track album features appearances by Clear Conscience, 77 Jefferson, Aston “Family Man” Barrett of Bob Marley & The Wailers and a handful of others.
Every die-hard reggae fan has heard the song “Pressure Drop” at least a thousand times and could probably sing it word for word. Heinrichs and Cas Haley change all that as they put a fresh new spin on and old classic. The words may be the same, but the tone of the song is entirely different. The tempo has been slowed down a bit, with a mellow acoustic beach-vibe beginning and more of Heinrichs belting out in his signature style. The harmonization’s of Haley and Heinrich are unmatched and give the classic Toots & The Maytals tune the respect it deserves.
“Rise Above” is one of the more upbeat songs on the album and features Koko of Inna Vision. In the beginning we are drawn in by some nice melodica work and are immediately immersed in the contrast between Heinrichs’ soulful vocals and Koko’s rap-like verses. They provide the contrast that is necessary to create a great collaboration.
The “Things Change Dub” shows Heinrichs taking a few steps in a slightly new direction. The song is a collaboration with Richard Faught of 77 Jefferson and is the only real dub track on the album. We get plenty of melodica, reverbed vocals, and instead of the usual spaced-put guitar solos we are used to in dub songs we get melodica solos instead, which are a nice change.
Overall, the album is a good one to have in rotation but it is a safe move for Heinrichs. It’s certainly something we would expect from Heinrichs and is well executed but I would like to see him step out of his comfort zone and give us more the unexpected.
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